I was anticipating the release of Barnaby at various times last year, checking the release date whenever Richard would ask us for our monthly picks. But that’s comics for you: one of those frustrating yet loveable (right?) aspects of the industry. I can’t claim any special knowledge about Crockett Johnson’s newspaper strip, it was just something I came across when reading pre-release information a while ago and the images of a chubby, suited, cigar-chomping fairy and his young charge had my immediate intention. The good and definitive news from Fantagraphics HQ is that the book is now completed, collating all the newspaper strips from years 1942-43, with a release date of late March/ early April, so I’ll hand over to Eric Reynolds, who’s much better placed to tell you more:
Earlier this month we wrapped up what has been my favorite project I’ve ever worked on. I’ve been pretty lucky to work on some amazing books by many of my favorite cartoonists, but this… this is something else. This is Crockett Johnson’s BARNABY . This has been my #1 dream project for well over a decade, and it’s now real.
BARNABY is the long-lost comic strip masterpiece by Crockett Johnson, legendary children’s book author (Harold and the Purple Crayon) and illustrator (Ruth Krauss’ The Carrot Seed). Featuring the misadventures of five-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his cigar-chomping, bumbling con-artist of a Fairy Godfather, J.J. O’Malley, BARNABY deftly balanced fantasy, humor, politics and elegant cartooning in a strip that captured the imaginations of kids and intelligent adults alike, including Dorothy Parker, Charles Schulz, W.C. Fields, Gardner Rea and Milton Caniff. We will be collecting in five volumes the entire, original ten-year run from 1942-1952.
To give it that extra oomph, the books are designed by Daniel Clowes- you can see some of his thumbnails and roughs below:
The list of great 2013 books grows steadily on…